Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Revamping Icethetics

It should be fairly obvious to you by now, but obviously I'm making some updates to the layout of the blog. As I've mentioned, I get tired of looking at the same thing day after day so every once in a while I feel like making changes.

One major difference is that I've moved the pollbar to the center of the page. I felt like the main content was getting trapped by the two columns on each side. It's different and it might take some getting used to, but I think it's for the better.

There's also a new banner and site logo at the top of the page. That large empty blue area will eventually be filled in with new content as Icethetics expands. Yes, I've got big plans. I'll go into detail on that at a later time.

Anyway, I'll use this post to take questions and comments about the new design. So what do you think? Rate it below.

UPDATE (10:15 PM): Just finally had a chance to read through some of the comments. I was surprised at all the negativity toward this new look. I thought it was overall cleaner and simpler. I'll take a moment here to reply to some of the general feelings.

First, the clutter. Pretty much all of the content of Icethetics can be accessed from the main page. Personally, I like that. It means you don't have to go clicking around everywhere and waiting for pages to load to find information quickly. Yeah, it can be an eyesore so I've tried to make it as easy to deal with as possible.

To alleviate some of this clutter, something I'm working on is to actually expand Icethetics into a web site rather than just a blog like it is now. But that's the thing about the design of Icethetics. It's a blog — not a web site. However, I realize my content would lend itself well to a web site but then it comes down to how much work there is for me to do.

With the blog, all I have to do is create a new post and write in the content. Done and posted in minutes. Plus Blogger has a built in RSS feed that you can subscribe to so you know when I've made an update. Automation is the only reason I can do something like this. I maybe have an hour or two a day to dedicate to Icethetics. But I have a life outside of it.

If Icethetics were my day job — if I got paid to do it — I'd go all out. You wouldn't be able to find a better hockey web site. Right now, I only use a handful of HTML pages — the logo brackets and the IceHL ratings pages. Everything else goes through Blogger. So I'm limited by that. In the future, I hope to figure out a way to create a web site that will better handle everything Icethetics has to offer — with the blog being a primary element of it.

As far as the new aesthetic of Icethetics, you can't please everyone. All I can hope to do is create a design that I don't mind staring at everyday. For those of you who don't like it, you'll get used to it. Most people didn't like the last design either. What can I do? I'll just keep changing it every few months anyway.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

50 comments:

johnnyboombots81 said...

Nothing but positive feedback from me Chris. I enjoy the orange accents and the look of your logo. I've always been a fan of blue and orange. Keep up the great work!

Johnny C.
Art Director/Designer/hockey enthusiast

cptjeff said...

As I mentioned in the Vancouver Jersey thread, I don't like both the poll bar and the info bar on the same side. Makes it look unbalanced and way too busy. I liked the text in the middle a lot.

However, the new banner and color set is nice.

a snowballs chance.... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blesskylesfall said...

I like the watermark in the gray background of the blog, but how come it doesn't flow for the whole page?

Also, where is part 6?!?!?!?!?

NHL Jeff said...

Looks very unbalanced with the two bars on the same side.

Cornelius Hardenbergh said...

I don't really like the two columns sitting next to each other. It feels crowded to me. All of the other details are pretty good, though.

Drew Celestino said...

Far too much clutter on that right side Chris. Better off with a column on each side of your main content column. Colors are nice.

flyersk27 said...

I hate all the changes except the top wordmark is ok.

JacketFan58 said...

Not good. Sorry Chris but this looks like a mistake. There is just too much going on on the right hand side. Having m,ain news in the middle was a good barrier between polls and additional info. This is a significant downgrade.

Like the new logo bar at the top, however.

James said...

I concur that the two columns on the right looks unbalanced. This blog is a tad cluttered as it is with all of the snippets of information. Now, with the two columns on the right next to each other, it becomes rather exhausting to look at and process the information.

Honestly, I'd prefer it if you got rid of the polls column entirely, and just created a separate section for the polls. It's just too much information and exhausts your eyes trying to read through the information.

Curtle said...

The poll Bar was fine where it was. I'm good with the rest of it though. The champion banners look a bit out of place in both placement and look.

a snowballs chance.... said...

i agree with the general consensus that the right side of this blog is thoroughly unbalanced. also, would the font size used in today's blog is too small for regular posts. In the voting section, the comparative logos should be minimized to the same size as the logos in the third jersey section. overall, the blog is too cluttered and this is a massive downgrade.

Spencer said...

Change the sidebar's back Chris! This new double-headed sidebar is horrible! Confusing!

Please change the sidebar back!

Ksy92003 said...

Is this the Part VI of the Icethetics Season Preview you were talking about? I'm just getting tired of guessing.

David said...

Wow, seems like you've been getting a resounding dislike of the double columns on the right. I'm afraid I must agree. Seems too cluttered.

Also, I agree with a snowballs chance.... that the logos being voted on could be smaller as well. I understand the desire to make it big enough to see detail, but I'd guess that a good majority of us here are already familiar with the logos enough to know the details.

Jacob said...

Not a fan of the column switch. Also, the text in the background of everything (even vote buttons!) is a bit much. Looks like you're trying to keep people from using your images without credit... not a good look imo.

Jason New Era said...

Yeah Chris. I will agree with the people, the side bar looks funky.

HOWEVER! The color scheme looks great and I love the new banner and background.

To make the polls seem seperate from the main column, why not put another blue bar inbetween them? Maybe that would help.

Ogre39666 said...

I'm going to have to agree with pretty much everyone, the right is too cluttered now and the post font is too small.

However, I love the new banner and the ghosted "Icethetics" (maybe not on everything like the vote buttons though).

roccot said...

as i've said before my biggest complaint is the grey behind the logos. It really takes away from the great colours that make up these icons. The logos themselves should have no photoshop work done to them. They all look like they have a white wash over them.

The rest... man it is your site do whatever the heck you want with it.

Lucas said...

I'm pretty much on the same page as the others, everything is just way too cluttered on the right side.

The text in the background of the site, the banner, the vote buttons, the sectional mini-banners, and featured as a watermark on the Canucks jersey is overwhelming. I don't want to be negative, but the text is actually hypnotizing me a bit. It was hard to read this post with little words screaming at the sides of my eyes.

I like the new wordmark and color scheme, though.

Vic DiGital said...

I agree with most everyone else about the new layout. I want to also add that a site ABOUT aesthetics should first and foremost actually BE aesthetically pleasing. This site is very much information-heavy. It's an overload of info anytime I pop onto the site, and whether the text column is on the left or in the middle makes no difference.

I'd simplify the landing page WAY down and provide easily recognized and located links to sub-sites within the site. IceHL deserves its own page. IHA deserves its own page. Third Jerseys deserve their own page. Etc.

When I come to the site, I want to see, at a glance, what's new. If I want to delve deeper into the other cool stuff on the site, that should be a second step I can take, using easily-located icons or links.

I like the new logo, though!

Leafers LP said...

Everything that was changed today it a horrible decision!!!! It looked perfect the way it was! Now we have a horrible new logo on the banner, not to mention that annoyance from the right side. EVERYTHING WAS FINE! I hate the logo more than I hate the right side. The other logo was perfect! Represented the site well. These changes remind me of the old nhl.com, in that everything was a downgrade.

As for the polls, just post them. What's the harm in posting them the way you used to? And that way it's much easier to READ the numbers!

Sorry for being so uptight, I just can't stand it already.

b said...

I found this site yesterday before the new layout was put in place and I prefer the new layout to the previous.

For me, I think it's cleaner, and it's easier to navigate with the new format. I also like how all the polls and information are on one side, while the body is on the left.

This new format seems more structured in my opinion.

Btw, I love the interesting information provided by this site.

Shawn said...

What a mess!

Damme said...

I have to agree with the others: I liked it better on the right side, now it looks unbalanced. However the rest looks great, I like the new banner.

samusasu said...

Move the polls back to the left. Users are trained to look at the center of a page so this is somewhat disorienting.

GoSabres21 said...

i like the new banner at the top and everything...i just dont like the main columns being on the far left...it looked better in the middle in my opinion...but hey...its chris' site so he can do what he wants...we will get used to it

GoSabres21 said...

i also cant wait to hear about the expansion you mentioned...

ArchMedia said...

hate the right side clutter, there's just too much of it going on. I hope the watermark that appeared on the Canucks jersey isn't going to be a regular thing, there was just far too much of it. the logo champions banner should go back to the top.

at the end of the day, maybe have the polls on the right and some of the news/info/updates on the left. just flip them. the main content should have really stayed down the middle. and like someone else said, i keep reading "icelhelics" from the new logo...

i think i miss the old version alot, already

Hockey Week said...

you know, if you want something different, move the info column to the left side and keep the poll column on the right. I always look in that right column, but it's always the same, simply because we read from right to left, and i want to read the stories first.

most websites have their links bars on the left, do the same with your info. that way, it keeps the balance that everyone, myself included, has mentioned every time you toy with changing things.

i like the banners, i'd like the logos more if the t's had just a little bit of crossing on the left side of them, so it differentiates itself from an l that much more (essentially use the t font from the blue bars everywhere else, that's a nice t). the colors are great, adds a bit more pop to the site.

but still: balance

snyperp said...

I have an idea for the water mark. Keep it, because its kinda cool, but fade out the center so the main jist of the image isn't disrupted, but keep enough around it to be seen.

Blake said...

I'd say that it doesn't particularly matter whether you have the columns on the same side or opposite sides, the fact of the matter is that there is just two much content on the main page. Someone else mentioned you should compartmentalize the page into multiple pages and it would be a much more pleasant surfing experience. I love the site and I love all the additions that you have brought to the site over the past year but the glass can only hold so much water. As you alluded to, you are going to be bringing even more content to the site in the near future so I would highly recommend you spliut from the single page view sooner rather than later.

umfan3915 said...

Chris, i think that the right side with 2 pollbars definately look crowded and I think the new icethetics logo is to "robotic" but I do like the new banner and the orange outline for the icethetics logo. But I personally think that you should change it back to the original look

Spencer said...

Change the sidebar back!

Urban dweller said...

It looks crowded, but i'll give it a while to see how it looks.

Leafers LP said...

"...simply because we read from right to left, and i want to read the stories first."

Uhm, I don't know about you, but I read from left to right.

Bottomline, and I don't wanna lie, the site currently looks like a bomb blew up. Just yesterday it was beautiful.

Mike said...

I personally like the updates, and will give Chris time to finish his tweaks before judging it too harshly. Right now i think the polls seem a bit busy, but he could always change the size of the logos and more clearly visually identify the second and third columns.

The one thing I didn't like the watermark that exploded all over the Canucks posting.

bruinbxr5791 said...

I agree. the site was absolutely beautiful yesterday. the only thing i did not like yesterday is the freaking logo sets. it takes away from the logo because of the gray. other than that, today it looks absolutely terrible, in my opinion. don't get me wrong, i always agree with what Chris does, his decisions are always wonderful and i have always agreed to them. Not anymore. the blog is too cluttered with all the words at the top and the sidebars on the right side. I still love this site and will continue to check on it about 50 times a day lol, but i am very dissapointed in the way Chris has gone with the blog.

Mykl said...

I like the new look(header, and the watermarks) but if you moved the polls back, it be better

i also dont like the grey background logos much

Chris said...

Hey guys. I wrote a general response to some of the comments in the post. Scroll up!

NHL Jeff said...

Chris,
Surprised that your update to the post didn't mention specifically the dislike of the columns both being on the right.

a snowballs chance.... said...

Can we have a vote on the new changes and future changes?

Chris said...

Surprised that your update to the post didn't mention specifically the dislike of the columns both being on the right.

My original post mentioned my reason for moving the pollbar to the middle. Didn't think it required any further explanation. I'm sorry some folks don't like it. But I do.

Can we have a vote on the new changes and future changes?

That sounds pretty good, but no. The blog layout is where I get to flex my creative muscle and I'm not willing to give that up to the masses. But when it comes to something where I can't make up my mind, sure I'll put it to a vote.

Moosehabs said...

Chris, look at it this way: Canada's most popular sports (and hockey) website, TSN.ca, also has the main body on the left and two columns on the right. I read a lot of complaints when that redesigned site first debuted. Nobody says a word now.

People don't like change but they always get used to it.

Chaz A. said...

I would write to squarespace.com see what they can maybe do for ya

Chris said...

I would write to squarespace.com see what they can maybe do for ya

Chaz... I'm in love! Sorry bro, not with you, but with that site. I didn't even know something like that existed! That's exactly what I've always needed. Coming soon... Icethetics on squarespace.com. Thanks for opening my eyes!

leafer said...

Chris, do a website, and use this script
http://www.czaries.net/scripts/czarnews.php

Its essentially a blog script, it allows you to post in categories, and posts all the latest posts on one page, it also has an rss feed with it, I find its very convenient.

Powerplays and Politics said...

What ever ya do I will continue reading. I agree with the comparison to TSN, change is difficult but I still use tsn all the time and enjoy it now. Keep up the good work.

Ogre39666 said...

Chris,
In the end this is your blog/site so you should do whatever pleases you. I'll keep reading if you keep posting no matter how it looks.

David B said...

I love the blog format Chris. It's simple, clean, easy to update for you (meaning we get more content) and has a more intimate feel. Stick with what works I say.

On a side note, have to say, this place seems to be growing pretty fast. I was really dissapointed once the first tournament was over. I enjoyed it a lot, but thought it meant the end of your blog. Can't believe how much you've done with the place. Keep it up!

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